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Matthews, McDavid, Shesterkin Named 2022 Hart Trophy Finalists

The NHL announced that New York's Igor Shesterkin, Edmonton's Connor McDavid, and Toronto's Auston Matthews have been named finalists for the 2022 Hart Trophy.
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The finalists for the NHL's marquee individual award have been revealed. 

The NHL announced the three candidates for the Hart Trophy on Thursday morning, with New York's Igor Shesterkin, Edmonton's Connor McDavid, and Toronto's Auston Matthews all finding themselves in the running to take home the hardware. 

This year's Hart race is undoubtedly one of the tightest in recent memory. 

First, you have Shesterkin, who put together arguably the greatest single-season performance by any goaltender in the salary cap era at just 26 years old, leading the Rangers to home-ice advantage in the playoffs with a dazzling 36-13-4 record, six shutouts, and an eye-popping .935 save percentage. 

To make Shesterkin's case more appealing, even, there's a very good chance that his ludicrous save percentage number would've ultimately ended up even higher were it not for an uncharacteristic late-season dip in Shesterkin's play, which he quickly rectified and returned to his world-beating level. 

Then there's McDavid, arguably the best player in the NHL, whose 123 points in 80 games led all players by a wide margin, while his 79 assists landed him second behind only Jonathan Huberdeau's historic mark. The most hilarious part of it all is that it didn't even seem as if McDavid was at the height of his powers all year. The 25-year-old won the Art Ross in a landslide while seemingly still having another level to reach, dragging a flawed Oilers roster to the playoffs with home-ice advantage, to boot. 

And finally, there's the consensus favorite. 

Not only did Matthews put together the best single-season goal total in the Maple Leafs' century-plus history as a franchise, but he became the first NHLer to rack up a whopping 60 goals since Steven Stamkos did so a decade ago. 

Matthews was intrinsic to the Leafs' success this season. While his job cementing himself as the best goal-scorer in the game gobbled up the bulk of the headlines, Matthews' evolution into one of the league's top two-way players was equally commendable, giving the Maple Leafs an elite presence at both ends of the ice that they, really, have never had before. 

It's a tight race this year. And whoever ends up taking home the Hart will be a worthy winner. 

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